As the new academic year begins, university staff and students have prepared themselves for a range of new scenarios and challenges as the need to be flexible, adaptive, and responsive to changes in the real-time education landscape remains
There is no doubt that the global impact of COVID-19 has filtered into not only our personal but also our working lives. Students, teachers and researchers have altered their working practices and teaching and research activities accordingly to abide by the new health and safety measures. However, the need to be flexible, adaptive, and responsive to changes in the real-time education landscape remains.
As the new academic year begins, university staff and students have prepared themselves for a range of new scenarios and challenges. Some institutions have chosen to conduct another year of online teaching, whereas others are adopting a more blended approach to learning. Students have adapted to distance learning well, but many are looking forward to on-campus lessons and social interactions with their peers.
It is not an overstatement to say that the future of hospital pharmacy lies in the hands of our students. It is exciting to see how pharmacy is advancing through their elaboration of ideas, their work and publications.
The key to pharmacy success will be to focus on specialising the knowledge and training of pharmacists. Just as every healthcare provider has a specific niche, pharmacists will need to be trained as experts in medication science (including pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenomics, pharmacoeconomics and medical implants) while continuing to be accessible health care providers.
The demand for pharmacists is high in many sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, research, marketing, pharmacovigilance, and in reimbursement authorities. When looking to the future, pharmacists will still be responsible for dispensing but automation, robotics and software programs will enable hospitals to further develop a cost-effective method to deliver drugs, increase drug safety and create a more rewarding environment for its staff and workers.
It is impossible for each hospital pharmacist to have the whole range of knowledge and competencies, so knowledge will need to be optimised through sharing competencies and cooperating with other pharmacy colleagues. Networking, making social and professional contacts and building relationships all start during study and training, and support and enhance professional development, allowing students to feel more invested and connected and enabling the foundation for future relationships to be laid.
Many European, national and international societies including the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, the European Society of Clinical Pharmacy, the International Society of Oncology Pharmacy Practitioners and the European Pharmaceutical Students’ Associations have emphasised the importance of student participation. They provide exclusive benefits and services to student members and have extensive student networks. Some offer awards to those conducting research in the fields of hospital and clinical pharmacy, provide travel grants for conferences, offer educational scholarships, visiting lecturer grants, professional development workshops, mentoring and outreach opportunities, and networking with experts, all of which have significant intellectual and collaborative impact. Students are the driving force and the more resources they can access from professional societies, the better off they will be.
Although we cannot predict with certainty what the future will bring in our ever-changing world, we should do our very best to ensure our students receive an inside view on what’s going on in the world of hospital pharmacy.
The future of our field lies in their hands and every investment is worthwhile: our students are tomorrow’s leaders.